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Employment-Based Immigrant Visa
EMPLOYMENT-BASED IMMIGRANT VISA
The Immigration and Nationality Act provides a yearly minimum of 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas. These visas have five different preferences categories. Sometimes these types of visas require labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the filing of a petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security (USCIS).
To be considered as an employment based immigrant under the above classifications, for some employment based categories, the applicant's prospective employer or agent must first obtain a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor Once received (if required), the employer then files Form I-140, Immigrant Petition Alien Worker, with USCIS for the appropriate employment-based preference category.
EMPLOYMENT BASED VISA CATEGORY
E-1 Employment First Preference
Priority Workers receive 28.6 percent of the yearly worldwide limit. All Priority Workers must be the beneficiaries of an approved Form I- 140, Immigrant Petition for Foreign Worker, filed with USCIS. Within this preference there are three sub-groups:
- Persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. Applicants in this category must have extensive documentation showing sustained national or international acclaim and recognition in the field of expertise. Such applicants do not have to have a specific job offer so long as they are entering the U.S. to continue work in the field in which they have extraordinary ability. Such applicants can file their own petition with the USCIS, rather than through an employer;
2. Outstanding professors and researchers with at least three years experience in teaching or research, who are recognized internationally. No labor certification is required for this classification, but the prospective employer must provide a job offer and file a petition with the USCIS; and
3. Certain executives and managers who have been employed at least one of the three preceding years by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer. The applicant must be coming to work in a managerial or executive capacity. No labor certification is required for this classification, but the prospective employer must provide a job offer and file a petition with the USCIS.
E-2 Employment Second Preference
Professionals who hold advanced degrees, or Persons of Exceptional Ability in the Arts, Sciences, or Business receive 28.6 percent of the yearly worldwide limit, plus any unused Employment First Preference visas. All Second Preference applicants must have a labor certification approved by the DOL, or Schedule A designation, or establish that they qualify for one of the shortage occupations in the Labor Market Information Pilot Program (later). A job offer is required and the U.S. employer must file a petition on behalf of the applicant. Aliens may apply for exemption from the job offer and labor certification if the exemption would be in the national interest, in which case the alien may file the petition, Form I-140, along with evidence of the national interest. There are two subcategories within this category:
1. Professionals holding an advanced degree (beyond a baccalaureate degree), or a baccalaureate degree and at least five years progressive experience in the profession; and
2. Persons with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business. Exceptional ability means having a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered within the field.
E-3 EMPLOYMENT THIRD PREFERENCE
Skilled Workers, Professionals Holding Baccalaureate Degrees and Other Workers receive 28.6 percent of the yearly worldwide limit, plus any unused Employment First and Second Preference visas. All Third Preference applicants require an approved I-140 petition filed by the prospective employer. All such workers require a labor certification, or Schedule A designation, or evidence that they qualify for one of the shortage occupations in the Labor Market Information Pilot Program.
There are three subcategories within this category:
1. Skilled workers are persons capable of performing a job requiring at least two years'' training or experience;
2. Professionals with a baccalaureate degree are members of a profession with at least a university bachelor's degree; and
3. Other workers are those persons capable of filling positions requiring less than two years'' training or experience.
E-4 EMPLOYMENT FOURTH PREFERENCE
Special Immigrants receive 7.1 percent of the yearly worldwide limit. All such applicants must be the beneficiary of an approved I-360, Petition for Special Immigrant, except overseas employees of the U.S. Government who must use Form DS-1884. Certain spouses and children may accompany or follow-to-join the principal special immigrant.
E-5 EMPLOYMENT FIFTH PREFERENCE
Employment Creation Investors receive 7.1 percent of the yearly worldwide limit. All applicants must file a Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur with USCIS. To qualify, an alien must invest between U.S. $500,000 and $1,000,000, depending on the employment rate in the geographical area, in a commercial enterprise in the United States which creates at least 10 new full-time jobs for U.S. citizens, permanent resident aliens, or other lawful immigrants, not including the investor and his or her family.
The immigration laws of the United States, in order to protect the health, welfare, and security of the U.S., prohibit the issuance of a visa to certain applicants. Examples of applicants who must be refused visas are those who: have a communicable disease, or have a dangerous physical or mental disorder; have committed serious criminal acts; are terrorists, subversives, members of a totalitarian party, or former Nazi war criminals; have used illegal means to enter the U.S.; or are ineligible for citizenship. Some former exchange visitors must live abroad for two years. Physicians who intend to practice medicine must pass a qualifying exam before receiving immigrant visas. If found to be ineligible, the consular officer will advise the applicant of any waivers.
All applicants must submit certain personal documents such as passports, birth certificates, police certificates, and other civil documents, as well as evidence that they will not become public charges in the United States. The consular officer will inform visa applicants of the documents needed as their applications are processed.
Before the issuance of an immigrant visa, every applicant, regardless of age, must undergo a medical examination. The examination will be conducted by a doctor designated by the consular officer. Examination costs must be borne by the applicant, in addition to the visa fees.
The cost of each immigrant visa application processing fee (per person) is (US) $335. Fees must be paid for each intending immigrant, regardless of age, and are not refundable. Local currency equivalents are acceptable. Fees should not be sent to the consular office unless requested specifically. USCIS charges additional fees for filing petitions.
Whenever there are more qualified applicants for a category than there are available numbers, the category will be considered oversubscribed, and immigrant visas will be issued in the chronological order in which the petitions were filed until the numerical limit for the category is reached. The filing date of a petition becomes the applicant's priority date. Immigrant visas cannot be issued until an applicant's priority date is reached. In certain heavily oversubscribed categories, there may be a waiting period of several years before a priority date is reached.
The information contained herein is strictly for informational purpose ONLY and must not be construed as legal advice OR as creating an attorney client relationship between yourself and BOS Legal, LLC. Always contact a knowledgeable immigration attorney for specific case analysis on your individual situation.